June 14, 2024

A video has surfaced showing Ernest Frimpong, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary candidate for Amenfi East Constituency, in a controversial meeting where he urged illegal miners to confront and assault security personnel who attempt to extort or harass them. The meeting, which involved illegal miners (commonly referred to as “galamseyers”), was supervised by Kobby Otchere-Darko, Member of Parliament and Western Regional Minister. Otchere-Darko also serves as the Chairman of the Western Regional Security Council, making his involvement in the discussions particularly concerning.
In the video, Frimpong is seen addressing the miners, advising them to resist any attempts by security forces to disrupt their activities. He made bold claims that operations such as ‘Operation Halt’ and ‘Galamstop’, which are meant to crack down on illegal mining, have been terminated.
According to Frimpong, the soldiers who were previously hunting the miners no longer have any official mandate to do so. “You can question them anytime they come to your sites on patrol. The patrol by the security services is good as it helps minimize robbery. So, if you voluntarily give them something for fuel, it’s your choice. I will never speak against you for supporting security personnel because if they decide to stay in their barracks and offices, robbers will rob your belongings,” Frimpong stated.
He went on to embolden the miners, encouraging them not to be intimidated by the uniforms of the security personnel, and to resist if they face any form of harassment or intimidation.

Frimpong’s rhetoric did not stop at resistance; he explicitly urged the miners to retaliate if attacked. “Resist such attempts, and retaliate if you are slapped in the process. Fight them, I will come there. We will not condone such activities,” he proclaimed.
He rationalized it by pointing out that both the security personnel and the miners are operating illegally, thus neither party has the right to arrest the other. Frimpong further illustrated his point by sharing an anecdote about a mining site where the miners successfully resisted police harassment. According to him, after several confrontations, the police ceased their visits.
Kobby Otchere-Darko’s presence and supervision of the meeting add another layer of complexity. As the Chairman of the Western Regional Security Council, his involvement in a discussion that undermines the efforts of law enforcement agencies is alarming.
Otchere-Darko did not publicly contradict or disavow Frimpong’s statements during the meeting. He was seen cheering Frimpong on.
In a move to bolster communication and coordination among the miners, Frimpong proposed the creation of a WhatsApp platform. This platform would include the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), the Regional Minister, and Frimpong himself, allowing miners to report any instances of attempted equipment confiscation by police or soldiers.

The video has sparked outrage and concern among the public and various stakeholders. Critics argue that Frimpong’s statements and Otchere-Darko’s tacit approval could exacerbate tensions between illegal miners and security forces, potentially leading to violent confrontations.
The government and the NPP have yet to issue an official statement addressing the incident. The revelations from this meeting highlight the ongoing challenges in the fight against illegal mining in Ghana. With political figures like Ernest Frimpong openly encouraging defiance against law enforcement, the path to sustainable and legal mining practices becomes even more complicated. The government’s response to these developments will be crucial in determining the future of mining regulations and enforcement in the region.

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